Virginia ADA website accessibility court case yields in credit union’s favor
Wednesday, January 31, 2018
In a noteworthy 2018 Americans with Disability Act (ADA) case, a Virginia federal district court threw out a lawsuit on Friday, January 26, brought against a credit union alleging website accessibility issues under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Three points of interest to credit unions and CUSOs alike can be surmised from District Court Judge Claude Hilton’s remarks:
1. Judge Hilton ruled that credit union websites are not public places of accommodation;
2. The plaintiff had no standing in the case because he wasn’t eligible to join the credit union; and
3. The judge noted that the credit union’s field of membership is limited to current or former employees of their seg, immediate family or household members.
View the full court case here.
In response to the judge’s ruling, the credit union’s attorney John Bredehoft of Kaufman & Canoles stated, "we are particularly pleased that Judge Hilton recognized that credit unions are different, due to the field of membership requirement, from other institutions who are required to serve all comers.”
From Bredehoft’s statement, it’s important to note that (1) due to the limited nature of the credit union’s field of membership the plaintiff wasn’t eligible to join the credit union; and (2) “It is the plaintiff’s burden to show that he is suffering a concrete and particularized, actual or imminent invasion of his personal interests, which would be resolved by a judgement in his favor,” the court said.
“Though this case is in a different jurisdiction, and there is still a lot of confusion surrounding ADA website accessibility compliance, it does provide hope that the tide may be changing for credit unions in the way the courts will interpret ADA guidelines in the future,” said Trichina Pierce, Compliance Manager/Associate Counsel for the League.
The number of credit unions being affected by ADA demand letters and lawsuits continues to grow across the nation, making this an ongoing top priority for the Credit Union National Association and the League. To access resources on ADA Compliance, please see the links provided below.
CCUL | ADA Compliance Resources
CUNA | ADA Compliance Resources